Originally from Jalisco, Beatriz arrived in the Santo Domingo Valley, Baja California Sur, 48 years ago. The love of her spouse and the adrenaline for the adventure she undertook were sufficient reasons for her to gratefully adopt this land as her home.
“This place gave me everything. My husband and I arrived with our car, a few belongings and a baby. His brother was our guarantor to get a ranch on credit. Our first wheat crop was abundant. The money paid our debts and allowed us to invest in machinery.”[two_first] “We lived on that ranch until my second daughter was born. In 1972, we moved to Ciudad Constitution in Comondu where we bought the house, we still live in. Over time, we acquired other small ranches in La Paz where we planted serrano peppers for Herdez and potatoes for the Barcel companies.”
As the city developed, the ranches were bought by businesses or the municipality. However, the memories for Beatriz are as vivid as if it were yesterday.
“La Paz is like an alluring magnet. I travel often to my homeland, but when I return, the blue of the sea captures me, and I feel its energy.”
Being restless and a lover of culinary arts since she was little, Beatriz paid attention to the ingredients in dishes. She begun a recipe journal, took cooking courses and cooked for her brothers. She has 33 recipes for birria made out of turkey, pork or goat.
Five years ago, in a quest for acquiring regional recipes so she could learn more about the roots of this region, Beatriz and her daughter embarked on an adventure through the five municipalities of the peninsula. The two traveled by car and on foot and sometimes even camped!
“When I arrived in this beloved land, I found no recipe book. This motivated me to start this project. It was in Santa Rosalia 48 years ago that I tried a Sabarin, a cupcake filled with custard cream and French-style almond liqueur, for the first time. No one wanted to give me the recipe! It took me ten years and four trips to get that family recipe. To print it in the book Gastronomía de los Zafiros was a great pleasure.”[two_first]
The author tells us that writing a book of more than 300 recipes was no easy task. Among the challenges of getting to the roots of South California cuisine was to convince people to share their knowledge. It is a legacy that must be preserved and handed down to future generations and, of course, to chefs and restaurants so tourists can experience the flavors of this peninsula.
“Many times, I had to use trade tactics. I was talking about Jalisco stews in great detail. Little by little and with great pride, people began to open up and share. Sometimes they even became competitive and gave me recipes they said beat my dish or their neighbor’s recipe!”
More than 170 South California recipes were left out of the first book. Deciding which to keep in the first run was another challenge. Of course, some variations were left out because each cook adds a personal touch. For Beatriz, all the recipes are valuable pearls.
“One would ask, what did people eat here in Baja California Sur? What ingredients can come from a desert? In this adventure, I discovered that landscapes of ocean, desert, and oases became solid sources of food. There are many cooking contests that are organized between chefs and schools that enrich us.”[two_first]
Beatriz will soon publish a book of 170 ceviches entitled “Bocado de Vida” with the support of the Sudcalifornian Institute of Culture. Ceviche is a dish so versatile that it can be served as an appetizer or as a main course.
“I know that ceviches have their rules, but rules are made to be broken and I consider this book to be a revolution of flavors. I use citrus fruits such as passion fruit, pomegranate, orange, and even vinegar as a marinade. My ceviches are made from seafood, vegetables and a wide variety of oils and sauces. I’m proud!”